WASHINGTON, DC - Boise State President Dr. Bob Kustra said an eventual berth in the Pac 10 conference is definitely a goal – though it may be a distant one.
The president appeared on KTVB’s Viewpoint program live from Washington, DC Sunday morning. He touched on a number of topics – including stadium expansion and conference realignment.
Since the school announced it would leave the Western Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West Conference, the landscape in college football has changed – with both Utah and Brigham Young University leaving the MWC.
“We knew that Utah going to the Pac 10 was a possibility,” he said. “I was a bit taken aback by BYU. I didn’t expect them to take off.”
He said that while the new-look MWC is a bit different in past years, it is still a strong conference.
“Yes I’d like to see Utah and BYU in the conference, but picking up Nevada and Fresno State – our best rivals in the current conference – helps a lot.”
Kustra said that football competition is just one component of what a school looks for in a conference.
“What I wanted to do was concentrate in the intermountain region, and eliminate some of this far flung travel,” he said, citing examples like Hawai’I and Louisiana Tech – which can be disruptive to student athletes’ study schedules and academic pursuits.
He said that an eventual bid to the Pac 10 is not out of the question – but thinks his school has some work to do before it happens.
“When you are going into the Pac 10, it’s not just the stadium or competition. It’s about what kind of university are you,” he said. “It’s part of the reason why we are building our research programs and our graduate programs.
He said that the school’s effort to beef up many of the non-athletic components ties into the athletic program’s advancement.
“The will look at schools that look the most like them.”
He said that while membership in the Pac 10 one day is possible – it is down the road a bit.
“It might be ten years before the Pac 10 looks at us from an academic standpoint.”
Kustra also touched on stadium expansion – and newly unveiled plans to revamp Bronco Stadium with more seats, better facilities and more amenities. Though the school showed renderings and talked about plans at a roll out event last month, they avoided setting a timeline.
“Timetable is to get the first phase as soon as we can,” he said. “I would hope we can start raising money for that and have a timeline for that over the next three or four years.”
Kustra said the school is already well under way on its plan to make an improved Bronco Stadium happen.
“Right now we’re working on big contributions and small contributions. We want do that as soon as we can.”